Randall Smith hosted a Dan Harden seminar for the weekend of May 12, 2017 through May 14, 2017, at his Boca Raton, FL dojo, Aikido of Palm Beach County. For those of you who don’t know Dan or his work, you can find it here at his site Body Work Seminars.
There were a couple new faces in attendance. Which is always great. Otherwise it was the same band of yahoos who are a great bunch of guys.
Once again, I am months late in posting my thoughts about a seminar. So, I am working of my notes. I like committing my experiences when the memories are fresh.
Anyway, Dan taught a bunch of great stuff as usual. Here’s a few of the nuggets that I wrote down in my notes and have been concentrating on.
20 Degrees More
The first thing is 20 degrees more. What Dan was saying about this was that once you reach that point, stretch/feel/go 20 degrees more.
The physical example we were working on while he said this was stretching your shoulders back while laying your scapulars flat across your back. While doing this, or any stretch, push yourself to get that little extra.
For me, when I do this, I feel more of a pull not just in the muscle, but also in the fascia. I feel a connection extending from my fingers and up through my shoulders. Besides feeling awesome, their is an increased awareness of my body’s interconnectedness.
The ultimate goal would be to get this feeling throughout my whole body, all at once, all the time.
The second concept I took note of was to go soft. This is my ever present martial arts prayer.
For me, this is the easiest concept to grasp but the hardest to implement. Application of this idea requires a rewiring of my automatic responses. Um…yeah…gonna take some work…
The idea is to be soft enough that you can feel your opponent. This is difficult. The automatic response is that your muscles tense up.
I have written about this concept previously. It’s the main concept in advanced martial arts.
You need to learn to be soft to be able to pull skin. But you can learn to be soft when learning to pull skin.
So when pulling skin you touch your opponent light enough to feel their skin moving as you move your fingers over the surface of their skin. When done properly you will witness your partner moving to your light touch.
I believe it gets your opponents fascia moving. This is also a central concept to Systema.
Good Danism I picked up from this seminar(paraphrased): Think of the jo extending to work on your awareness of the focal points of movement
Think about that for a while.